Instagram’s ranking factors are truly ever-changing, making it quite confusing when you feel like you’re doing your best to create content but not seeing any results. Instagram wants to help creators grow, they’ve recently updated their ranking factors, which they do regularly. Instagram wants to improve the experiences of users while they use the app. We are presenting you with an updated blog on the new features of Instagram, and how to increase your reach on the Explore page.
The first step to getting likes on Instagram is understanding how ranking works on the system, though you can also use services like Blastup. Instagrammers need to understand how ranking works on Instagram in order to get their content surfaced. Instagram doesn’t simply use a singular algorithm that decides what people see and don’t see on the app. It uses a variety of classifiers, processes, and algorithms which are faced with different burdens. The platform aims to get people to spend as much time scrolling as possible, without wasting their time. So we can assure you that Instagram harnesses the power of technology to personalize user experiences.
Feed, Stores, Explore, and Reels all use different algorithms, which are dependent on how people use them. For example, people use Stories to keep in touch with their closest loved ones and Reels to find funny content creators. There are different forms of ranking for different parts of Instagram.
How Instagram Ranks Explore
The Explore page was created by Instagram to help users discover new things. The grid is made up of recommendations of photos and videos that the app finds for users from accounts they don’t follow yet.
The first step Instagram takes is defining a set of posts to rank. This includes photos and videos that a user may be interested in. The Explore page is truly never-ending, the recommendations come based on what a user has previously liked, shared, saved, or commented on in the past.
Once Instagram has formed an idea of the photos and videos a user likes to see, they order them intricately based on what a user may be most interested in, similar to Feed and Stories. The best method used by Instagram to determine how interested a user is in a post is to predict how likely a user is to interact with it. These important interactions include likes, saves, and shares. Here is a list of factors Instagram considers “signals” and uses to rank posts.
- Information About the Post. Here, Instagram looks at how popular a post seems to be. Are lots of users who have similar interests commenting on, sharing, and saving a post? These signals are a lot more important when it comes to the Explore page than Feed or Stories.
- User Activity in Explore. These signals are based on posts a user has liked, saved, commented on, and shared in the past. The Explore page is never-ending, truly, because Instagram notices how a user interacts with Explore page posts in the past. If a user interacts with a specific type of post, then Instagram will show them content from similar creators.
- Interaction History. There are chances that a user has never interacted with your posts, and they’ll still show up on their Explore page. But, if a user has interacted with your content before and that wasn’t enough to get them to follow, they’ll be seeing a lot more of your content on the Explore page.
- Information About the Poster. A common signal Instagram focuses on is whether users interact with similar content creators. If your content matches what users interact with, and you create compelling content, then it’ll show up on a user’s Explore page.
Most of the content a user sees on their Explore page is from people they don’t follow. But, we also want you to understand that there are issues when your content is problematic. If users are triggered by or feel uncomfortable after seeing your content on their Feeds or Explore pages, they may take action. Sure, when a user is on their Feed, and a friend they follow shares something offensive, then the user can do something about it like block, unfollow, hide, mute, or even report the friend. Instagram wants to reduce the risk of people seeing offensive content on their Explore page, especially because it’s from content creators users don’t follow.
That’s why, in addition to Community Guidelines, Instagram has rules in place for places like Explore, Seach, Suggested Feed Posts, Search, and Suggested Accounts. Instagram calls these the Recommendations Guidelines. Posts that go against Instagram’s Recommendation Guidelines are not offensive enough to be removed from the app but may be sensitive topics for some users. This involves topics such as news and substance abuse. For example, a news account can share footage of ongoing wars, but this may not be recommended on Explore pages of certain users.
If a content creator’s post goes against Recommendation Guidelines on Instagram, then it may be shown to follows of the creator, but it won’t be recommended to non-followers. If an Instagrammer repeatedly creates content that goes against Recommendation or Community Guidelines, then none of their posts will be on Explore pages for a long time. Content creators can use the Account Status feature to understand more about this. As a brand or a creator, we urge you to remember that if your content reaches outside your targeted audience, or your audience doesn’t find it compelling, they may press the “Not Interested” option.
Instagram is always exploring ways in which it can help content creators understand how to get their content out there. If you aren’t getting much distribution to your non-followers, there is probably a reason for it. For example, Instagram is currently working on notifications to let creators know when the reach of some of their posts is falling due to a watermark. Instagram is also working on ways to help brands and influencers understand what is most effective for increased reach. We hope this blog helped you, as a creator, to get your content on the Explore page of your targeted audience.